This is about a super creepy app, "Girls Around Me", which finds girls in the vicinity and consolidates all their public information so that you can easily browse and look at bikini pictures of the girl ahead of you in line, if they're out there.
The location-finder part of it - Four-Square - disabled their part as a consequence of the negative publicity, so it's no longer very effective. Nevertheless.
The writer is an idiot, though. He sees the app as a harmless aggregate that will hopefully wake people up to how much of their information is available on the web.
I hate this line of reasoning. Yes, people should be less naive. But there are other reasons than naivete to make information available. For example, it is really wonderful that I was able to easily locate so many former students, when my colleague's health is failing. They were able to write notes saying how much she meant to them. Having your information available online has really good consequences, as well as spooky consequences. Claiming that the solution is for everybody to lock down their information means they will miss out on some good stuff.
I have more information out there than I'd like consolidated in the hands of a stranger behind me in line, because I don't want any information in his hands, without my knowledge. (Granted, I've drawn the line at any location-tagging app like Four-Square. Those seem super creepy.) Furthermore, pre-internet, much of this information was already available as well. It was just so much harder to aggregate.
I put most of the onus on the makers of the app, which are exploiting their skills at data aggregation. It's irresponsible and predatory.
My Facebonk feed is exploding with Lotto fever. How is that many lottery winners end up losing all their winnings? Or does winning actually make some people genuinely happier and better off in the long term? I have many questions about this nonsense in which even my own sainted mother participates.
My friend recounted the following: Over Spring Break, the professors do not have access to their offices. They do not have keys to their buildings. This is at a large, not-UT-Austin, public university in Texas.
If they want to get in, they have to call the campus police, and go over there and fill out some paperwork arranging a set time that they'd like to be let in their office. At the appointed time, an officer will meet them at their building and let them in. (This is totally mind-boggling, right?)
The back-story is that this is one of many ways in which the legislature wants to micromanage the public universities into an existence of sheer misery. It's from the mindset that educators are lazy, not justifying the dollars they're gobbling down, etc. She has a half-dozen of these outrageous examples of micro-managing, which inevitably involve loads of unjustified paperwork and weird hoops to jump through.
Republicans claim that government is intrusive and excessively bureaucratic in order to justify want they actually want: to dismantle government from the inside out. And then on those occasions when they do govern, they pass policies which are so intrusive and excessively bureaucratic that the policies themselves perpetuate the idea that government should be dismantled from the inside. Fuck them.
I was just out at a bar to catch a friend playing some solo tunes. Shortly after the music began, the bar was inexplicably taken over by what I think were German twentysomethings. (I'd guess they were students, except that this was in a part of town not frequented by students. Anyway: a bunch of loud, tipsy people speaking German; that's the scene.)
Because I was sitting alone at the bar for the gig, I had quite a few folks utilizing the gaps on either side of me to get refills at the bar. I noticed the Germans seemed particularly less conscious of my personal space, and it was four or five times that different members of their party came to get a refill and then parked next me, absentmindedly poking me with his or her (and it was a mix of genders) elbow or shoulder the whole time.
My question: is this more liberal attitude toward personal space a German stereotype with which I'm not familiar? If so, what other stereotypes have I missed?
Via Helpy-chalk, Bringing Home a Porn Star. It's a fun read.
Here's a bit from a Canadian doctor, boggling at the cruelty of the American medical system. Fortunately we're all pleasantly desensititzed! I recently watched a colleague jump through unbearable financial hoops to get chemo, (which I wrote about in thinly veiled pseuds in the comments.) She is responding surprising well to the chemo that she finally got, after the cancer escalated dramatically while she was denied treatment, and which (I believe) they finally were able to get some loans to pay for the treatment themselves, despite having insurance.
How come the Hippocratic Oath isn't preventing some of these particular horrors? Is it really just a perfunctory graduation ritual? I somehow thought it was a real mechanism that doctors used to keep treatment coming.
In a continuing series of posts about Canadian bands that none of you will care about, I bring you The Rural Alberta Advantage, "Don't Haunt This Place":
Just because I really like this song.
Go look at the wind right now, on a map. It's pretty cool.
Witt sends along this link, about the degree to which OWS websites have been scavenged by data tracking sites.
It sounds like OWS data is being scooped up by the forces which track everything, as opposed to being singled out for being political. Of course, it doesn't matter why data is initially collected - it now exists and can be abused in the future.
Basically this article worries about the connection between extensive data tracking and political dissent. Way to make me feel helpless, article.
(Confidential to article: your pie chart is naked.)
Guess what I'm trying tomorrow!
(A friend asked "Is it religious?")
Our town has a river that runs through it. There are several contiguous city parks that run along its banks. You are allowed to drink in most of the parks, besides the Kid's Park with the giant playscape.
It is legal to drink on all Texas rivers. Our town council is about to vote on banning drinking in all the parks along the river. It looks likely that the ban will pass.
The arguments in favor are about fights, violence, and gang activity. Which, sure, I imagine that it is tough to police the area. However, the park does not have a dangerous reputation, and does not feel dangerous to me. We log a lot of summer hours tubing the river and hanging out in the park. Furthermore, all the parks already have an after-dark curfew. We're talking about summer afternoon conditions here.
The parks are wildly popular, primarily for hosting giant family cook-outs, but also college kids sunbathing. But the users skew Latino and poor. (Like everywhere else, our fanciest neighborhoods are far away from town and these parks.)
In my opinion, the ban will pass because there is no one making a profit off the alcohol, to get in there and lobby in favor of beer-drinking. This is super fucking infuriating to me. There just is no well-organized advocacy system for keeping cheap freedoms available to poor people.
(Granted, people can still hop in the river and drink as much as they want. But still.)
I've been losing my voice over the last day or so. Yesterday I could talk softly, but now it's almost completely gone. (Not true laryngitis, where my vocal cords can't generate any noise. The coughing kind, where I start to cough uncontrollably when I try to speak.) Maybe I'll get to stay home tomorrow!
Anyway, I do love teaching in a voice that's barely above a whisper. Everyone is super still and focused and intent on listening as hard as they can. They shush each other and get mad at each other for being mildly disruptive.
(Actually, I do use this with disruptive classes - drop the volume of your voice, and let them respond accordingly.)
Nobody wants to talk about the three days of Supreme Court oral arguments regarding Obamacare (we're reclaiming that term now, right?). But everyone loves quizzes, especially ones on which I suspect the Unfoggedtariat will score disproportionately highly.
I was planning on hating this couple, who are taking on a nomadic tour of the world with their toddler and baby, somehow trailed by a movie crew. Then we were all going to rip on them a lot and mock their pretentious connection to nature. But I ended up liking them.
Let's talk about menopause!
Along with the preventative mastectomy, I'll be in for an oophorectomy. (Eventually. You know, as a pre-vivor, when I earn my pink wings.) And thus I'll go into menopause at the age of 37 or 38.
What's it like, anyway? The doctor gave me the normal spiel about the wide, wide range of experiences, and the vaginal dryness and lack of libido, etc. (I asked: Is the lack of libido just the consequence of the dryness? Or are these two, partially overlapping, symptoms? She never got what I was asking, and I abandoned that line of questioning.) Thinning of the vaginal walls...what does that mean? What does that feel like?
Will I look prematurely aged? Probably no one knows, but it's got to be somewhat likely.
Is it just sex and vanity? Are those the only two domains that are affected?
There's also the distinction between menopause, the uncomfortable but finite transition period, and post-menopause, the rest of your life. I'm actually interested more in post-menopause. After all - with a bit of luck - most of my life will be spent being post-menopausal.
I met with the pain specialist today and explained that I still spend 20-50% of the day in agonizing pain, but that I thought the whole "inject things into your intra-cranial nerves" thing sounded unpleasant. My husband is concerned there could be some environmental favor or disease such as toxoplasmosis (the cat thing) since our maid has also been having terrible migraines. Sure, tell the neurologist when you see him next week, said the doc, although the only way to really find out is an analysis of your spinal fluid. Which they get from a spinal tap. Honestly, a spinal tap?
My doctor asked me if I was willing to just amp all my meds and see if I could get into a pain-free state (well, pain at level 2 is considered success.) Fuckin' A yes! If ever there were a thing I would try. 450 mg of lyrica (I see Cthulu in my future)! 150 mg of topamax (this is the "making you stupid" drug, but this is the clinically effective dose, to which I have a good chance of adjusting. But he also said my standards were too high. It ended up being kind of like the orgasm complaint thing. "I can read as fast as ever but I can't quote it accurately 5 minutes later!" (Sub-complaint: they might as well have just cut off my ladyparts for all the fun that's not happening there.) But really I am just flaking out on dumb shit all the time. I'm going to have to start writing on my hand soon. But if it works I don't fucking care.) 60mg a day of OxyContin, rather than 30. Plus extra if I felt like it's not doing the trick! Dag, someone is handing out some motherfucking pills around here.
Went to a meeting today, and some friends are coming to my house to have a meeting here tomorrow. Feeling resentful of my sponsor who has not been here to visit me even once this whole last--nearly 4 months. Feeling annoyed that my store's 3rd anniversary sale, which I was not able to work, garnered less cash than last year's. I can't help but think if I had been in there selling all along we would have cracked 40K for the weekend like last year--not sure we cracked even 30K. But my partner is facing such a difficult situation with me totally on the sidelines and her shouldering all the mental weight of the company. Gah. I don't want these pills so I can get high or something; I want to go to work! I want to play with my children. Sometimes I hear them playing in the other room and I know I'm too tired to see them and I just cry, it is the happiest, saddest sound. And even with all that medicine right now there are chrome-plated ice picks scraping the back of my eye sockets, and being stabbed into my temple with great force. I might not be able to read comments because bright lights and words. But I miss you all. It was always one of the things that made it bearable to be bed-ridden, that there was this little window into another world where I could talk with friends and read witty jokes and all that. I shouldn't even be doing this, I am an idiot. But how can I be all by myself and have to put out the glistening blue fire in the windowplace? Where will I get warm when I am alone?
1. It seems more virtuous, or something.
2. I already like cold coffee, black.
3. I am fanatically addicted to caffeine, and enjoy every last aspect of the addiction.
4. There are threads in the archives dedicated to riffing on how one likes X, like their Y, so someone should link those threads. That way this thread can stand on the shoulders of giants and see further.